The UFC was more or less able to pick and choose talent from Strikeforce’s roster after the organization folded earlier this year. However, one fighter the Zuffa brass have not been able to come to terms with is heavyweight Josh Barnett. While such news isn’t surprising on the surface considering the rocky relationship Barnett has had with UFC President Dana White in the past, it actually appeared their differences had been settled and the only thing keeping Barnett out of the Octagon was a singular point in the deal he’d been offered.
Barnett recently shed a little light on the matter through representative Leland LaBarre on an episode of The MMA Hour where he confirmed the plan was for him to face former champion Junior dos Santos, expressing regret he might not be able to deliver the fights fans want to see.
“I was excited to fight Junior. I thought he was a favorable match up for me, but Zuffa was unwilling to give me something that they gave Eddie Alvarez. No disrespect to Eddie, but I felt it was fair to give it to me as well,” explained Barnett in a statement (credit to MixedMartialArts.com for the transcription).
While no details were given beyond Alvarez’s name, the lightweight’s contract was made public due to an ongoing legal dispute between Bellator/UFC, including things like a fast-track to a title-shot and a financial percentage of PPV buys.
The 32-6 Barnett went on to reveal he was already in the process of negotiating with other suitors, a bittersweet process according to “The Warmaster”.
“Although things seem to be working out well for me, I feel bad for the fans,” said Barnett. “They wanted me to fight certain guys in the UFC and I really wanted to give them those fights. Once we get the deal we are working on done, the fight the fans scream for will be lost forever.”
PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE